Types of Child Custody in California
In the majority of divorce and child custody cases, it is believed to be beneficial that the child has a relationship with both parents. However, parents sometimes cannot agree on a parenting plan together and that decision falls to the courts.
Legal vs. Physical Custody
There are two types of child custody in California: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions for the child including decisions about the child’s education, health, and welfare. Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child resides.
Joint Legal Custody vs. Sole Legal Custody
When parents are awarded joint legal custody, they both share in making decisions for their child, such as medical and education decisions. However, if sole legal custody is granted to one parent, then only that parent has the right to make decisions regarding the child.
Joint Physical Custody vs. Sole Physical Custody
The same applies to physical custody. When parents are awarded joint physical custody, the child shares time between the two households. However, if a parent is granted sole physical custody, the child then lives with that parent while having visitation with the non-custodial parent.
If you have any questions about child custody in California or need help navigating any family law matters, please do not hesitate to contact Moore Law for Children today.
Types of Visitation Orders
Visitation is a plan for how the parents will share time with their children. Visitation orders vary depending on the best interests of the children, the parents’ situations, and other factors. In general, visitation falls into one of the following categories:
Visitation According to a Schedule
In general, it’s best for the parents and children to have a detailed visitation schedule to prevent conflicts and confusion for both the children and the parents. Between the parents and the courts, a visitation schedule is settled upon that details the dates and times that the children will be with each parent. These schedules may include holidays, special events, and vacations.
A reasonable visitation order does not necessarily detail when the children will be with each parent. Instead, these orders are left open-ended and allow the parents to work it out amongst themselves. This will only work if the parents get along well, are flexible, and communicate well with each other.
When the children’s safety and well-being may be at risk, a parent’s visits may be supervised by another non-professional adult or a professional monitor. This can also be used in situations where a child and a parent need time to become more familiar with one another such as when a parent has not seen the child in a long time. This can include the involvement of a mental health professional to assist with the reunification of the parent and child.
This option is used when visiting with a parent, even under supervision, would be emotionally or physically harmful to the children. In these cases, it is in the best interest of the children for the parent to have no contact with them.
How do Family Law Courts in California Determine Custody?
In the state of California, the court takes a number of factors into account when determining a custody order. These factors include the following:
- The age of the child;
- The health of the child;
- The ability of the parents to be promotive of the parent-child relationship;
- Strength of parenting skills;
- The emotional ties between the child and parents;
- The child’s ties to his or her school, home, and community; and
- History of violence or substance abuse in the family home
Is California a Mother or Father Custody State?
California law does not display a preference towards either parent in a custody case. Custody decisions are made based on the above factors and the child’s best interests.